Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Jail for man who tried to swap imitation gun for fish and chips

Trying to pay for fish and chips with an imitation handgun ensured a prison sentence for Omar Ali. He had not used the handgun to threaten staff, Gloucester Crown Court heard, but wanted them to keep it in return for giving him food on credit. The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of the imitation gun in a public place during the "bizarre incident" on August 29.

Prosecutor Tim Hills told the court he went into the Podsmead fish and chip shop in Podsmead, Gloucester, where he was a regular, and tried to exchange the replica 0.45 calibre handgun. He said: "He came in and appeared to want some food. He lifted his T-shirt to show his waistband and there was the handgun, which he offered as security. At no time did the shopkeeper feel threatened by the defendant."

Judge William Hart said: "It is a bizarre set of circumstances by any standards. He didn't use it or threaten anyone, nor was he there to give it to someone who wasn't a respectable character. It was not a danger, it was not brandished in a threatening manner or used to intimidate – despite the peculiar way you used it.

"But there must be an immediate custodial sentence. Anyone in possession of even an imitation gun in a public place, especially one as authentic at this, requires a custodial sentence." Defending, Steve Young said Ali, of Podsmead, Gloucester, was trying to dispose of the gun. He said he was trying to get his life in order. Judge Hart sentenced Ali to seven months jail.

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